Title page for ETD etd-06042010-020817

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Keet, Annaline Caroline Sandra
Email annelinekeet@gmail.com
URN etd-06042010-020817
Document Title A return on investment study of Employee Assistance Programmes amongst corporate clients of The Careways Group
Degree DPhil
Department Social Work and Criminology
Advisor Name Title
Prof L S Terblanche Supervisor
  • triangulation of data sources
  • formative evaluation
  • summative evaluation
  • cost of employee staff turnover
  • evaluation as strategy to measure change
  • cost effectiveness analysis
  • cost benefit analysis
  • return on Investment
  • health and productivity management
  • cost of employee absenteeism and sick leave
Date 2010-04-12
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this research is to conduct an evaluation of the return on investment value of Employee Assistance Programmes within the South African context.

Assistance to employees originated from the 19th century. The term Employee Assistance Programmes was however formulated in the 1970ís in the United States. The Employee Assistance field has since seen a paradigm shift in its focus, significant growth in its market value (amount of corporate clients internationally investing in EAPs for their employees), the establishment of a regulatory and ethical body through EAPA and its formalization as an academic discipline.

This study takes the concept of return on investment value of EAPs further than the ratio of benefit-to-cost. The utilization of different data sources, inclusive of quantitative and qualitative instruments creates an opportunity to explore areas of value perception of different role players in the field. It furthermore maps the subjective and objective experience of behaviour change resulting from personal problems and the journey of change as a result of focused interventions. The consistency of views across different datasources as well as between different industries strengthens the value add claims of EAPs as contributing to the financial bottom line of companies.

This study advocates for the importance of programme evaluation as a central part of EAP contracting. It furthermore also highlights the importance of documentation of employee performance for evaluation purposes. It illustrates a journey that can be complicated by the failure to agree to evaluative terms at program inception as well as unstructured data-capturing within companies. Employee behaviour consists of both computable and incomputable elements. Generally the focus of a return on investment study would be the computable components of human behaviour. This investigation however highlights significant elements of risk relating to employee performance challenges that is not easy to include in a ROI but holds significant financial and reputational risks for corporate clients. The influence of individual performance challenges on teams and the challenges it holds for line managers is also highlighted through the qualitative journey of this study.

Employee behaviour seems vulnerable to internal and external forces and as a result companiesí productivity can be affected by how individual employees respond to these forces. It could be accepted that interventions that is aimed at stabilising and improving employee behaviour, will inevitably impact work performance and as a result the financial bottom-line of the company. Employee Assistance Programmes often operates in an arena where other programmes aimed at impacting employee behaviour are also present. It is thus difficult to isolate itís intervention as being one of the main behaviour changing facilitators of the company. This study acknowledges this challenge and changes focus to different data-sources reporting on employee behaviour before and after EAP intervention. The consistency of data across these different data-sources becomes one of the main reporting areas for this study.

Eventually the challenges encountered in this study guides the advocacy in the recommendations for a thorough agreement of programme evaluation at inception, the areas that will be included in such evaluations, the availability of Human Resource data to ensure effective evaluation inclusive of ROI assessments, targeted assessments at service provider level with effective software support.

© 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Keet, A 2009, A return on investment study of Employee Assistance Programmes amongst corporate clients of The Careways Group, D Phil thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06042010-020817/ >


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